As this Mother’s Day comes to a close, here’s my post about three dresses, two pictures, and my sweet little mother.
I will never forget the day mom came home from work with a package in hand — FOR ME! What a surprise, and for no special occasion, no reason other than walking from the court house across Main Street to Smith’s Department Store to kill some time during lunch. She spotted this baby blue dress (my signature color) and felt I should have it (see pic – second from the left). She said it was on sale, but even then I realized the extravagance of the purchase. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the coolest dress ever. I was hot stuff (or so I thought) and I felt so loved every time I wore that dress. I look back now and better see what that dress represented. It was the reason mom, despite her nature to mother, worked outside the home – so that we could have the occasional extra. Over the years she has told me that was one thing she regretted, not being home with us full time.
Even when she was working, mom could always make time to sew for us kids. While this was many times accomplished at four o’clock in the morning, I loved to watch her sew when I got the chance (which was not at four o’clock in the morning). By the time I was in high school, she had taught me to hem and remove the collars from men’s shirts for that mandarin collar look. When time for senior prom rolled around, we shopped for patterns and material, and she guided me in making my own peachy (my new signature color) prom dress!
The following year I attended college in West Tennessee. One day when I was feeling especially homesick in my dorm room, I heard a knock. I opened the door, and there stood my little niece, Mandy, with that head full of blonde hair shining like the sun. No one else in sight, just Mandy. I was delighted to see her but was frozen in space, confused, not only about how she got there but by what she was wearing. She had on a multi patterned dress that was the exact replica of a dress I had left hanging in my closet at home. She had on MY DRESS (no picture available at this time)! Mom appeared at the door as I picked up Mandy and gave her a big hug. Mom explained that she had unseamed, cut down, and resewed the dress for my darling niece. I had been so homesick, and to see one of the ones I missed most in that dress, made by the one I missed most of all, my mother, was heaven.
Over the last few days as Mother’s Day approached, I’ve thought about this post and what I might write. I thought it would be perfect if I could get a picture of each dress to include in this post. So after a Mother’s Day filled family and good times, Ronnie and I drove back to mom’s and spent the evening searching through boxes of pictures. I knew I could get my hands on two of the ones I needed, but held little hope of finding an image of my niece in MY DRESS. Mom so enjoyed picking up various pictures and commenting on them or asking me who was who. First I came across my peachy senior prom picture and placed it on the floor at my feet. Then beyond all hope, there was tiny precious Mandy in my dress mom had cut down for her. I added it to my stack on the floor. All I needed now was my sister’s wedding picture with me in that baby blue dress. Jackpot! A framed picture of my sister’s wedding. We had found all I needed. I bent down to add the last picture to the pile and noticed a picture missing. Mom had already started cleaning up, and the picture of Mandy was gone. I handed Ronnie the other two pictures thinking they would be safe from mom’s busy hands. After searching a box by my side with no luck, I walked over to Ronnie to get the two pictures left. But mom had taken the framed wedding picture from Ronnie and stowed it away – SOMEWHERE! Beyond frustrated, I took the one picture spared, walk outside and put it in our car. I dug through drawers in the spare bedroom and finally found the wedding picture. But the one picture I doubted even existed, was nonexistent. Gone in a snap, like a thought or a memory. After a lifetime of picking up after us five kids and my dad, what else can be expected? To tell mom to not clean up after someone is like telling an accountant not to count, a teacher not to teach, a writer not to write, a human not to breathe. It’s in her DNA. It’s a task that keeps her moving, keeps her going. A task once about keeping the house in order but is now about DOING before the memory TO DO is forgotten.
Thanks to dementia and poor eyesight, those busy hands no longer sew, and her confidence in buying something personal for me faded long ago. But she eagerly awaits the opportunity to clean up anything I dare put to the side.
God love her! I love her, too!
Thank you, Lord, for a Mother’s Day I hope I never forget.